Tuesday, October 11, 2016

In short: The Blob (1988)

A meteorite crashes in the vicinity of your proverbial US small town (which is to my utter confusion not portrayed by locations in British Columbia). It’s got a passenger too, in form of a little blob of acidic matter with big ambitions. Soon the blob starts to eat and/or dissolve the local population, growing rather humongous in the process. The only thing standing between small town America and total destruction are Cheerleader Meg (Shawnee Smith) and local bad boy Brian (Kevin Dillon).

To make matters even worse than that, and because this is a film made in the late 80s, there are also (evil, obviously) members of the military industrial complex arriving in town right quick. And you know how those guys are. This isn’t the 50s anymore, after all.

Chuck Russell’s remake of the well-loved and deeply silly 50s monster movie brings everything together 50s monster movies and their 80s grandchildren share, leaves out what doesn’t fit, and adds a whole lot of wonderfully icky, imaginative special effects, as well as the mandatory government conspiracy. Also, slime tentacles. It’s difficult not to admire how Russell’s and Frank Darabont’s script manage to extract all the elements that make the two styles of monster movies fun, mix them, and turn them into an excellent mush of acidic goo.

The resulting film is obviously about as deep as a puddle, but it is a film that knows that puddles are made for jumping into so that things go splash (unless they are slime puddles, which make a different kind of splash altogether), and most of the time, that’s just what it does. It’s pretty much the ideal of what this kind of film is supposed to be, playing things straight while still carrying the knowledge around how silly it is, this way never ending up absurdly po-faced yet also not demonstrating the need to be all ironic and cool about everything. The pacing gets fast and furious quick, and once we’re half into the film, there’s a fun new set piece about every five minutes, with lots of beautiful blobiness, explosions, and picturesque dissolutions of man and animal.

Did I mention how fun this thing it?

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